Last week the Globe & Mail reported on a study by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on the nutritious value of various types of apples. The study (to be published this week) found that the Red Delicious variety is the most nutritious.
That’s unfortunate for me, as the Red Delicious is far from my favorite type of apple. No matter, Ida Red, Cortlands, and Northern Spys rated well too.
The study did separate evaluations of the skins of the fruit and of the flesh. Some people — like myself — have gotten into the habit of peeling apples before eating them. Although everyone’s Grandma says the most nutrition is in the peel, some studies show that the skins are also where pesticides and growth chemicals are concentrated. There’s also the matter of all that wax.
However, I am reconsidering. Indeed, most of the antioxidant value of an apple lies in the skin (and that’s where the Red Delicious ranks highest). I should have known that, as there has been plenty of talk in the past few years about phytochemicals in foods — including the theory that the more colorful a fruit or vegetable is, the more phytochemicals it contains and thus the better it is for you.
So stop peeling those apples. And eat more of them. Below are the best apples for you, first ranked by skin nutrition, then by flesh nutrition. The numbers are FRAP units of antioxidant activity (FRAP is a commonly used measure of antioxidant activity):
THE APPLE SKIN TOP 8
Red Delicious; 17,851
Ida Red; 12,083
Northern Spy; 10,044
Golden Delicious; 9,616
THE APPLE FLESH TOP 8
Northern Spy; 6,425
Red Delicious; 3,215
Ida Red; 2,749
Golden Delicious; 2,036